Travel Vaccines

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Tick-borne Encephalitis (TBE)

Facts

TBE is a viral disease affecting the central nervous system.

In the last 30 years, the geographical range of TBE appears to have expanded to new areas

Vector 

Bite from an infected tick, belonging to the family Ixodes species, particularly, Ixodes Ricinus and Ixodes persulcatus.

Most cases occur from April through November, with peaks in early and later summer when ticks are active.

Most TBE viral infections result from tick bites acquired in forested areas through activities such as camping, hiking, fishing, bicycling, and outdoor occupations.

5-13,000 cases

worldwide annually (estimated). The actual number is thought to be much higher.

Symptoms

Fever, headache, muscle pain, fatigue.

Approximately ⅔ of infections are asymptomatic.

Severe case

Infection in the CNS leading to meningitis, encephalitis and myelitis. Disease severity increases with age.

 

Prevention

  • Precautions against TBE, including avoiding tick bites and receiving vaccinations, should be considered:

    • A vaccine exists but is only available in countries where the disease is present. No TBE vaccine currently exists in Canada.

    • Avoid tick habitats, such as long grass.

    • Use a recommended insect repellent containing either Icaridin (20%) or DEET.

    • Minimize areas of exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants and closed shoes.

    • Carry a tick remover or fine-tooth tweezers.

    • Carefully check every day for attached ticks.

    • If found, remove the tick by gently gripping it as close to the skin as possible and pulling away steadily without twisting or crushing the tick. Ensure the entire tick - including head and mouthparts - is removed.

    • The date of the tick bite should be documented.

Wash your skin with water and soap afterwards, and apply an antiseptic cream around the bite.

Vaccine

  • There is currently no vaccine available for Tick-borne encephalitis in Canada.

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